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Tips to Prevent Worker Exposure to Metalworking Fluids

The risks from coming into contact with metalworking fluids are well-known, yet there are still companies who do not protect their workers from developing serious health problems associated with the substance. Take the necessary steps to make sure your company is not one of them.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the cases of ill health amongst the workers and found that the measures put in place by the company to prevent or control exposure to metalworking fluid mists were inadequate. There were also failings in the company’s health surveillance provision. Metalworking fluids are often used as lubricants or coolants and are widely used across many manufacturing industries, with the dangers of breathing them in being well-known.

  1. Conduct a risk assessment across all machines and processes to identify where exposure could occur for your workers. Communicate the identified risks to workers and teach them how to use the precautions you put in place, such as the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  2. Take action to minimise skin exposure. Prevent skin coming into contact with the substance when using or moving parts/tool pieces, or when undertaking maintenance, by wearing suitable gloves and using face shields.
  3. Prevent mists of metalworking fluid from entering the workspace. Enclose machinery operations to reduce the likelihood of mists escaping, and ensure that extraction is used to control them at source. Make sure there is a time delay on machine doors so that no one can open them before the extraction has fully finished.
  4. Introduce health surveillance for workers where exposure cannot be prevented. For skin, this should involve regular skin checks by a suitably trained person, and for breathing, at least an annual health questionnaire in the first instance.
  5. Control bacterial contamination within the fluid, as this can cause irritation of the respiratory tract. Microbiological dip slides can be used to test the fluid for this purpose. Regularly check your metalworking fluids to ensure sump oil is not dirty or smelly, as this could indicate a problem that needs resolving.

Contact us, if you require information.

 

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Raffle Prize request

Raffle Prize request in aid of Club 2000 Sport and Leisure

I volunteer for Club 2000 Sport and Leisure. I am also on the committee.

Club 2000 is a sport and leisure club for people with disabilities, including learning difficulties, who live in Telford and Wrekin. Club 2000 is totally independent and not part of the local authority and receives no funding from them or any other statutory organisation.  Club is run entirely by volunteers and supported by membership subscriptions and any money that members and volunteers can raise by their own efforts together with any donations. We meet weekly, except during the summer holiday.

I started volunteering with Club 2000 in August 2010. It was a 16 week program. Over 5 years later and they can’t get rid of me. I enjoy club 2000 and its members. I also give my time to drive the minibus so members can attend and look after the website.

Our website is http://www.club2000sportandleisure.co.uk/ Our registered Charity No. is 1077511

Every year we offer our members trips. This year they wanted to go to Chester Zoo, Cadbury World, Blist Hill and Drayton Manor as they thoroughly enjoy themselves. There’s something to do for each and every one of them.

We are holding an entertainment event on 18th February 2017 in the hope of raising money for Club 2000. You could either purchase a ticket to attend or donate a raffle prize.

Should you wish to donate a raffle prize be it large or small, please let me know by email. We will ensure your company name is attributed to the Club 2000 newsletter and website. We understand you may receive many requests and fully understand if you are unable to give on this occasion.

Prizes are to be sent to: Emma Walker, Walker Health and Safety Services Limited e-Innovation Centre University of Wolverhampton Telford Campus Priorslee Telford TF2 9FT and should arrive no later than Friday 6th  January 2017.

Thank you from Club 2000.

Kind regards

Emma

On behalf of Club 2000 Sport and Leisure.

 

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Ensure Your Workers are Protected when Procedures Change

Ensure Your Workers are Protected when Procedures Change

  1. Consult with employees in advance before making any changes to the workplace, including to work methods, equipment and layout. Often staff will know a lot about the potential hazards as they perform the tasks on a frequent basis.
  2. Risk assess any changes before putting them into practice. Look at how changing one element could impact on another work procedure – for example, by re-arranging the layout of the workshop without planning how workers will stay segregated from workplace transport, staff could end up having to cross traffic routes and therefore put themselves in danger of being run over.
  3. Develop a safe system of work for staff to follow. Write this down so workers can refer to it when needed.
  4. Ensure that the required training is provided, for example if new equipment is to be used for the first time.
  5. Supervise the new procedure to check that workers understand what they need to do, and that they follow the safe system of work correctly.
  6. Review the risk assessment periodically to ensure that you have captured all of the inherent hazards in the new work procedure. Ask workers for feedback – check that your controls are working to mitigate the identified risks.

Always take time to carefully plan your work procedures – never implement changes without assessing the risks first, and working out how to control them effectively.

Contact us should you require guidance.

 

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Happy Anniversary Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Today (31 July) marks the 40th anniversary of when the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) received royal assent.

Arguably it is one of the best pieces of legislation on the statute books – although we know it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. It has protected millions of British workers, and driven sharp reductions in incidents of occupational death, serious injury and ill health.

In 1974, fatalities to employees covered by the legislation in place then stood at 651. The latest figure for 2012/13 was down to 148 for employees and self-employed combined. The actual reduction is probably more than this as data for sectors not covered by health and safety law pre 1974 was not collected. In the same time frame (and with the same caveat) non-fatal injuries have dropped by more than 75 percent. There is still room for improvement clearly, but the change in the last 40 years is quite remarkable.

Before the 1974 Act there was a host of different regulations – some industries swamped with prescriptive rules and others with little or no regulation at all. Much of our current reform agenda is aimed at: stripping out unnecessary or duplicated regulation and helping smaller businesses to understand how to take a proportionate approach to managing their risks – but the basic principles remain the same.

Forty years on the Health and Safety at Work Act has demonstrated it can be applied to new responsibilities and new demands, creating the framework for people to come home safe and well from a day’s work in any sector of the economy.

The legacy is a safety record envied around the world.

 

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Prison Sentence and Fine for Fire Extinguisher Technician: Ensure Yours are Competent

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states that a competent person must have the correct qualifications, training and experience, access to the relevant tools, equipment and information, manuals and knowledge of the special procedures recommended by the manufacturer of the extinguisher. Fire extinguishers must be serviced by the competent person in accordance with British Standard BS5306-3:2009: Code of Practice for the commissioning and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers, which sets out the procedures.

Ensure Correct Fire Extinguisher Maintenance with these 6 Tips

  1. The mass of the extinguisher must be checked against that recorded on the maintenance label when first put into service or last recharged. Labelling must not obscure the BS EN3 markings or manufacturer’s markings.
  2. The label must state that maintenance was carried out according to BS5306-3. It must also record the measured mass of the extinguisher at the time of servicing or the difference between the measured mass at the time of service and the mass recorded at commissioning.
  3. When your extinguisher is recharged, this must be recorded on the label. The words ‘Non-maintained’ can only be used if the technician does not have the parts available and does not intend to return to your site.
  4. Extinguishers manufactured to older British Standards may still be serviced so long as they can be returned to a serviceable condition. Soda, acid, riveted and plastic-bodied extinguishers and those requiring inversion are excluded.
  5. The technician should provide a written report which advises the Responsible Person of any extinguishers that have been condemned, not maintained or are missing; of any replacement extinguishers needed to meet the minimum requirements of BS5306; that any replacement or additional extinguishers are provided as soon as possible and that there must be adequate fire fighting equipment available at all times.
  6. There is a tolerance period of 1 month either side of the 12 month basic service interval, so there is a saving to be made by not bringing the service forward, which some technicians may recommend.

Avoid putting your workers and others who use your premises at risk. Ensure your fire extinguishers are maintained by a competent person.

 

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Fire Emergency Procedures and Means of Escape

  • Fire safety legislation requires the establishment of procedures for serious and imminent danger and the provision and maintenance of suitable means of escape.
  • Employers must ensure staff are aware of the fire evacuation procedures, including location of fire exits and assembly points. Carry out fire drills and exercises.
  • Those who may require additional support and assistance when evacuating should be identified and specific plans developed for them.
  • Fire exits and emergency routes must be properly marked with signs and, where necessary, adequate emergency escape lighting.
  • It is the duty of the responsible person/duty holder/appropriate person to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of escape routes to enable occupiers to reach a place of reasonable or total safety. Each employee should be aware of the action to take in the event of fire and the recommended evacuation policies.
  • Assembly points outside the building should be indicated clearly. These points should have been selected in consultation with the fire authority and routes to them signposted with appropriate notices.
  • Systems for providing relevant information to the fire and rescue services should be developed.

Ensure you provide a safe environment for employees.

Have you got an up to date fire risk assessment?

Contact us if you require advice.

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Business benefits to health and safety

Poor health and safety leads to illness and accidents that could prove an huge drain on the company finances. Simple but effective health and safety practices pay for themselves. They also improve the company’s reputation among customers, regulators and employees. Given the considerable increase in penalties under health and safety legislation, the cost of non-compliance is likely to exceed by a long way the cost of compliance.

Having bad health and safety provisions can harm a business. It can reduce productivity, damage products, equipment or premises, there could be considerable fines and legal costs if prosecuted, plus insurance premiums could rise.

Most competitive tendering now requires businesses to disclose any health and safety investigations and convictions.

Many customers won’t deal with businesses that have a bad health and safety record and good employees might not want to work for a company like that.

Having safe and healthy working conditions will make it easier for a business to attract and retain customers, employees and business partners.

If you would like an audit to see if the company complies with health and safety legislation, contact us.

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Five steps to risk assessment

This is a straightforward process for assessing risks in the workplace.

How to assess the risks in your workplace, follow these five steps:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

Don’t  overcomplicate the process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and  the necessary control measures are easy to apply.

Ensure that you involve your staff or their representatives in the  process. They will have useful information about how the work is done that will  make your assessment of the risk more thorough and effective. But remember, you  are responsible for seeing that the assessment is carried out properly. When thinking  about your risk assessment, remember:

  • a hazard is  anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from  ladders, an open drawer, etc; and
  • the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other  hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

If you require assistance, contact us….

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Its important to carry out Risk Assessments?

For many businesses the management of health and safety issues and keeping up with the multitude of regulations can seem like an overwhelming task.

For some companies the answer is to ignore it and convince themselves that it does not apply to them.

What are your legal responsibilities?

According to Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty to ensure that – so far as is reasonably practicable – the health, safety and welfare of all employees is looked after.

The Act also requires that employers of five or more employees have a written statement of their health and safety policy and that this is, along with any revisions, communicated to the workforce.

It is also important to carry out a Risk Assessments. Three reasons why…

1. Financial reasons: There is considerable evidence, that effective safety and health management in the workplace contributes to business success. Accidents and ill-health inflict significant costs, often hidden and underestimated.

2. Legal reasons: Carrying out a risk assessment and implementing what you have written down are not only central to any safety and health management system, they are required by law.

3. Moral and ethical reasons: The process of carrying out a risk assessment and implementing what you have written down will help to prevent injuries and ill-health at work.  Employers are ethically bound to do all they can to ensure that their employees do not suffer illness, a serious accident or death.

Risk assessments are good for business!

So don’t put it off any longer and get started on your risk assessment today.

Contact us if you require advice…

 

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New Year Resolutions – Health and Safety

After over-indulging at Christmas you may feel that dieting and exercise should be your New Year’s resolution. That’s all well and good, but in addition to getting fit, why don’t you do something that could potentially have a lasting positive impact not just for you, but for everyone around you?

If everyone can get through 2014 with the aim of working safely, the benefits could be extensive. From employees to Managing Directors, everyone can do their bit to bring about improvement.

It is important to remember that small steps can help to achieve a health and safety culture.

Now is as good a time as any to decide that you’re going to take that positive step.  Nobody should accept a situation where they know that  a serious accident could occur at any minute, but at the same time, they have not done their bit to do something about it.  Even something as basic as tidying up after making a mess, could have benefits.  Improved housekeeping sends out a clear signal to all staff and visitors and is something that in theory, should be easy to achieve.  Workers at all levels need to have health and safety in the backs of their minds.

Employers must ensure that people are safe during their business activities and that all staff have a level of health and safety understanding. Failure to have policies and procedures can lead to substantial business costs ranging from downtime, reputational damage, absenteeism and of course, personal liability for directors.

Remember, you can do all this at the same time as getting into shape for a marathon!

Contact us should you require assistance from a dedicated and committed health and safety person!

 

 

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